Aside from performing improv shows every night here at the theatre, and at corporate events, we’re in the Team Development business as well, working to build stronger teams with our clients throughout the Atlanta-area.
We know from the work we do that creating a team that communicates, collaborates and supports each other at a high level can be a difficult task. But when you get it right, it makes all the difference for every team member, and the organization.
When it clicks, you’ll see creativity and innovation spike, as happy team members’ work together to accomplish their goals. It’s a cool thing.
When it doesn’t click, you have team members shutting down, not contributing, not feeling supported and in turn, not supporting others. Conflict becomes an eternal loop, rather than something that’s inevitable, healthy and an opportunity to collaborate and work through respectively.
Regardless of the skill sets and talent on a team – if the team culture isn’t cultivated, it’s going to be pretty difficult for it to be become a high-functioning unit.
Focusing on team development at any stage is an on-going responsibility for any manager, but there are opportunities at the beginning of a team’s life cycle that are unique and don’t present themselves again.
So if you are a part of a newly formed team, committee, department or group tasked with a special project, here are a team development tips to help set the group up for long-term success.
(if you’re looking for a custom designed team building or team development session, reach out to Matt and he’ll be happy to provide more details – Matt@dadsgarage.com).
Team Development Tip
When a team first comes together, the beginning stage is going to be more about connecting the group, roles, ground rules for communicating and working together and developing relationships, rather than rolling up the sleeves right away and diving into the tasks. So as a leader, don’t stress about being overly productive in the very beginning. This is where you lay the groundwork for building a team that crushes it together, with everyone contributing.
This may not be overly surprising, but as an improv-based training company, we embrace the power of “Yes, and…”. If your team was also to embrace the principle of “Yes, and…” right out of the gate, that alone will be an important building block to creating a team that is in-sync.
Let’s assume that each person on the team is there because they bring something to the table (which I’m guessing is the case). They all add value in their own way.
From the start, create a culture where everyone 1) listens to each other’s insights, thoughts and opinions (and really listens, giving fellow members the respect of their attention), and 2) holds judgement (don’t immediately respond with a reason why something won’t work, or a comment that is deflating to the idea), and 3) whenever possible, contributes to what your colleagues are saying (the “Yes and…” part, where you accept the idea and then add to the idea).
This cultivates an environment that is open and non-judgemental. Where everyone gives their support and can operate knowing just as they give support, they’ll also receive that same support back.
This is a team on their way to unleashing their creativity and innovation, collaborating in a highly effective way though planning, problem-solving, brainstorming and decision-making.
Good luck with your team!
(and again, drop Matt a line here at Dad’s Garage if you’re interested in learning a bit more about how we work with teams though our unique team building activities – Matt Horgan at Matt@dadsgarage.com or by phone at (404) 523-3141 x 205.
(if your team is in Texas, or planning meetings in the Dallas-area, check out Improv to Improve for a Team Development or Team Building session. You can learn more here – team development sessions in Dallas)